Most helpful positive review
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Flawed, but Fun
on October 26, 2014
The mixed reception of Yoshi's New Island has left me scratching my head. Some people think it's great, and others think its terrible. Professional review sites like Gamefaqs seem to give it more negative reception, while retail reviews seem to be a bit more positive. After reading comment after comment on this game, I needed to find out what I thought of this game for myself. Thus, I bought it the other day, played through it, and am now performing my first Amazon review on it.
I got this game within a couple weeks of finishing the GBA Yoshi's Island 100%. That playthrough pushed the game into my top five favorite games. Thus, I have a solid grip on the differences between the two games.
The short answer is that the original Yoshi's Island is definitely a superior game on every level. However, that's not to say New Island is bad. I think the problem with most Yoshi games is that the first Yoshi's Island was so good that when the follow-ups stumble somewhere, it's especially noticeable.
First off, this game has a feature in which, if you want, you can send your gameplay data to Nintendo via Spotpass to give them information on how to make new games. I'm surprised no one has done anything like that before! I don't exactly know how they use that information, but crowdsourcing like that is a great idea.
New Island's story is super-simple. It starts immediately after where the first Yoshi's Island ended, where it turns out that Babies Mario and Luigi were delivered to the wrong parents. The stork immediately takes off again to deliver them to the proper house, only to be ambushed by Kamek (again), have Baby Luigi kidnapped (again) and have Baby Mario fall to the sea where he's rescued by the Yoshis (again). It's a total cop-out and ruins the first game's ending, which might be a personal turnoff to some people. I'm kinda willing to look past it, but even I have to admit it was a really lazy excuse to make a new game.
The first things about this game that turned some people off are the visuals and the music. Both of these are very subjective things, but I personally like them both. The 3D models and backgrounds in this game look like they were colored with crayon, which I find utterly adorable. Some enemies look so cute that you almost feel bad about defeating them. As for the music, I think many people heard the title screen theme and the Yoshi clan theme and decided the whole soundtrack was awful. While I personally don't mind those songs, I'll admit the kazoos are pretty obnoxious. For the most part, though, the soundtrack is actually pretty good! The main theme gets remixed over and over in every stage except the castles and fortresses, much like Yoshi's Story or Super Mario World. That may not be for everyone, but I found myself humming along to the tunes -- even if they didn't always match the level they played on.
As people have said before, there's actually very little "new" about New Island. For the most part, it plays exactly the same as the first Yoshi's Island. For those who don't know, it's an exploration-based platformer that encourages you to take your time to find all the secrets hidden in each level. As I love exploration, this is the biggest draw for me about Yoshi games. Every level has a straight path that you can blow right through, but there are plenty of side-paths with goodies hidden in them. And if you want to score 100 points on every level, you'd do best to seek them out. Thus, this is not the game for you if you want to zip through a level as quickly as possible.
Something I noticed right away when playing is that Yoshi controls differently in New Island than in the first game. It takes him longer to get up to a run once he starts moving, and he can't stop on a dime. In addition, the hitbox for his tongue feels smaller, there's a short pause between when you press the egg-throwing button and the time Yoshi actually pulls out the egg, and aiming the eggs feels a little wonky. I have no idea why Arzest tried to fix something that wasn't broken, and I can completely understand if this is a turnoff for you. I managed to adjust to the differing controls after a bit, and once that was done, I could enjoy the game for what it was.
New Island's main gimmicks are the two types of Eggdozers and the gyro-controlled transformations. Mega Eggdozers destroy almost everything in their path and fill up a New Super Mario Bros. style 1-UP gauge as they crumble enemies and obstacles. Metal Eggdozers roll along the ground, bowling over enemies and rocks. They also have the extra function of enabling Yoshi to walk underwater while they're carried. They're only used in a few levels throughout the game, which is kind of a disappointment because I thought there was a lot of potential with them.
With the exception of a few levels, New Island moves at a very relaxed pace. There usually aren't that many enemies and obstacles to avoid, and you can take your time going through the level. This is a game I play when I want to chill out after something more intense, like Mega Man Zero. On the other hand, this game is also really easy. While the first Yoshi's Island had an excellent difficulty curve, this game doesn't really rank up the difficulty until late in the adventure. So if you're looking for a challenge, look somewhere else.
The transformations are all short segments where you have to guide the transformed Yoshi to the goal before time runs out by controlling him with the 3DS gyroscope. I was skeptical about this after reading so many negative comments about the controls, but they actually controlled quite well for the most part. The only vehicles that gave me trouble were the submarine and, to a lesser extent, the helicopter. I had to redo some of these segments several times, but I managed to get past all of them with enough perseverance.
The level design all around is pretty solid. The stages are noticeably shorter than the first Yoshi's Island and aren't quite as spread out. While that's disappointing, this was a game designed for a portable system, so the short stages work for on-the-go play. No two levels feel exactly the same. Oftentimes, a gimmick will appear in one level and then never show up again. Even many of enemies aside from the Shy Guys appear in only a few stages. That's a real shame, because some of those enemies were so memorable. I mean, what happened to the Bandits?! They were everywhere in the first Yoshi's Island, and they don't even show up until the final world here (and it's a double-downer for me, because the Bandits look adorable in this game and I wanted to see more of them)!
As for the bosses, they were pathetically easy, as I suspected they would be. Yoshi games don't exactly have a good track record when it comes to boss fights. While there are a few exceptions, bosses in Yoshi games tend to be very easy. One thing about this game is that you fight Kamek in every fortress here. While it's cool that we finally get to put a smackdown on that guy, I think it would've been better if they limited him to the World 6 fortress and gave us a better boss variety. I won't spoil the final boss, but I will say that it's a total FFIX Necron moment. As in it comes in with almost no explanation whatsoever. It's actually kind of hilarious.
Like some other Nintendo games, Yoshi's New Island has its own Super Guide in the form of Flutter Wings. If you die enough times in a level, a character named Mr. Pipe will cough up these wings for you. They enable Yoshi to hover as long as you hold the jump button, so you can float right over hazards and enemies. If you die again while you have Flutter Wings, Mr. Pipe will let you use Golden Flutter Wings, which make you immune to all enemies and attacks. I never mind these Super Guide things because you never HAVE to use them, and that remains true in this game but I know some people can't stand them. If you're one of those people, give this game a pass.
To make a long story short, this game has a lot of missed potential. By sticking so close to the original and doing little to set itself apart, its flaws become all-too-apparent. But did that stop me from enjoying it? Heck no. I had a blast with this game, short as it was (I beat it barely a day after I bought it). I have yet to find all the goodies in its levels and unlock each world's secret stage. And even when that's done, I'm sure I'll replay the game again.
If you dislike this game from the get-go, then you're probably not going to change your mind once you play it, but if you're on the fence about this title, I suggest you at least give it a try. Yoshi's New Island won't be winning any major awards, but its still a solid platformer in its own right.